US intel: Putin move on eastern Ukraine likely

posted at 8:01 am on March 27, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Well, why not? The only reaction to Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea was a series of personal hand slaps and being called a relic of the 20th century, which isn’t exactly a stinging rebuke. American intelligence has finally come to the conclusion that massing troops and armor on a border actually is a pretty good sign that both will be used, and soon:

A new classified intelligence assessment concludes it is more likely than previously thought that Russian forces will enter eastern Ukraine, CNN has learned.

Two administration officials described the assessment but declined to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the information.

The officials emphasized that nothing is certain, but there have been several worrying signs in the past three to four days.

“This has shifted our thinking that the likelihood of a further Russian incursion is more probable than it was previously thought to be,” one official said.

The buildup is seen to be reminiscent of Moscow’s military moves before it went into Chechnya and Georgia in both numbers of units and their capabilities.

Technically, Russia still belongs to the G-8 for now, although Moscow isn’t getting to host this year’s summit and won’t be invited to attend it. Much of that reaction is in anticipation of the move into eastern Ukraine anyway. It’s possible that the West will react with much more strength in terms of sanctions and diplomatic isolation in the wake of a full-fledged invasion, but nothing in the painfully slow and incremental response to Crimea gives Putin to worry much about it.

Speaking of painfully slow and not even incremental, European countries aren’t exactly taking the threat of Russian aggression seriously — even now. The EU member states still plan on cutting defense spending as part of their effort to deal with debt crises on the continent:

Military spending across Europe fell dramatically after the Cold War, then ramped up for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in the five years since the global financial crisis, it has been cut sharply again — even as Russia’s defense spending has surged by more than 30 percent.

More European cuts are on the way, even as leaders hurl a daily dose of tough rhetoric toward Moscow,

That has frustrated Washington policymakers, who have long agitated for Europe to pay its fair share for security on a continent that, until last month, had looked remarkably tranquil but now faces its biggest crisis since the Cold War.

Speaking in Brussels, Obama chided fellow NATO members for not contributing to the collective defense.

“The situation in Ukraine reminds us that our freedom isn’t free, and we’ve got to be willing to pay for the assets, the personnel, the training to make sure we have a credible NATO force and an effective deterrent force,” Obama said in a news conference at the Council of the European Union.

Only a handful of countries other than the United States met NATO’s target last year of spending at least two percent of gross domestic product on defense. Even stalwart members of the alliance have sharply reduced spending in the past five years, with Germany down by four percent, Britain off by nine and Italy slashing nearly a quarter of its defense budget, according to figures compiled by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Diminished military spending in Europe has contributed to a deep unease among some of the continent’s smallest and weakest nations, which happen to be on the front lines should Russia decide that it’s not content to add Crimea, and wants to go for more.

Conservatives here in the US have heaped plenty of blame on Barack Obama for his lack of leadership and foreign-policy naïveté, much of it deserved. However, it’s difficult to lead a group that seems so determined not to wake up at all. Obama gave a good speech this week in Europe attempted to sound the alarm and to get NATO nations to take its defense posture seriously, but clearly little else than Russian tanks driving into Poland or maybe the Baltics will rouse Europe from its stupor.

At some point, the nations in eastern Europe will start asking themselves whether the Western alliance is worth the effort, and start looking for the best deal they can with Vladimir Putin and Moscow. That’s how international power politics work, whether the US and western Europe wants to admit it or not. Talking about how weak Putin is won’t stop him from overrunning Ukraine, possibly rolling all the way up to Moldova and Transdniester.


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But at least it isn’t like our invasion in Iraq…………

Electrongod on March 27, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Hey Obama, the 1980s called just to say I told you so. The 80s are vindictive like that you sorry stupid rat-eared idiot.

Is there anybody working for you that understands realpolitik is not the same as the polling on Real Clear Politics?

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Whatever gave them THAT idea? Oh, all those tanks that have massed on the border…

OF COURSE Putin is going to take the rest of Ukraine. It’s where the nexus of the Soviet gas pipeline system is. There were no consequences for Crimea, and there won’t be any for taking the rest of the country. He could march into Berlin right now if he wanted to, as long as President Vacay Mom-Jeans Weaksauce is in charge.

ConstantineXI on March 27, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Hey Obama, the 1980s called just to say I told you so. The 80s are vindictive like that you sorry stupid rat-eared idiot.

Is there anybody working for you that understands realpolitik is not the same as the polling on Real Clear Politics?

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Since the 1980′s are back in touch with us, could they send us their President?

ConstantineXI on March 27, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Since when can we believe our intel.

crankyoldlady on March 27, 2014 at 8:09 AM

A new classified intelligence assessment concludes it is more likely than previously thought that Russian forces will enter eastern Ukraine, CNN has learned.

And BTW, the US intel community isn’t exactly going out on a limb in assessing that Putin isn’t going to be satisfied with merely nibbling around the edges of Ukraine. Why should Putin stop when all Obama does is clutch his pearls and states that the occupation of Crimea is illegal but the US isn’t going to do anything about it.

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 8:11 AM

Since the 1980′s are back in touch with us, could they send us their President?

ConstantineXI on March 27, 2014 at 8:07 AM

No more Bushes! ;0

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Stuck in the 19th century Regional Power….or something….

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:12 AM

And BTW, the US intel community isn’t exactly going out on a limb in assessing that Putin isn’t going to be satisfied with merely nibbling around the edges of Ukraine. Why should Putin stop when all Obama does is clutch his pearls and states that the occupation of Crimea is illegal but the US isn’t going to do anything about it.

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 8:11 AM

But no one will be madder about it than Obama when it happens. After he reads about it in the paper and finds out it happened, that is.

ConstantineXI on March 27, 2014 at 8:13 AM

American intelligence has finally come to the conclusion that

…JugEars is dumber than dirt?

KOOLAID2 on March 27, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Eastern and Southeastern Ukraine are the most productive winter wheat growing regions…and China needs wheat.

Merkel will likely settle for a partition to avoid a wider conflict.

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:14 AM

No more Bushes! ;0

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Ronald Reagan was President the majority of the decade (1981-1989) and is who I was referring to of course. :)

ConstantineXI on March 27, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Chicken Kiev, Saturday night?

tim c on March 27, 2014 at 8:15 AM

ethnic-linguistic map of Ukraine

http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/newsroom/img/mt/2014/02/Ethnolingusitic_map_of_ukraine/lead.png?n1azr5

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:16 AM

But no one will be madder about it than Obama when it happens. After he reads about it in the paper and finds out it happened, that is.

ConstantineXI on March 27, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Somebody will have to point out that Crimea and Ukraine are the same thing before Obama becomes mad. Right now if you mention Kiev, he’s going to think you’re talking about a chicken dish.

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 8:20 AM

“Putin has already said that the USSR’s fall was a geopolitical catastrophe. He has already taken strides to create the Moscow-centric Eurasian Union, which comes into full in 2015. If Putin truly believes that the dissolution of the USSR itself was illegal, he is implying that all of Ukraine and the Baltics, as well as several other currently independent countries, belong to Russia and/or a reconstituted Soviet Union, and that he would be within his rights to invade and conquer them. Every independent nation that borders Russia and/or was once incorporated in the Soviet Union should greet this with great alarm.

Ukraine is not a NATO member, and the West would not be directly obligated to defend it should Russia move to seize all of it. But the West is not completely off the hook: The 1994 Budapest Memo calls for respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and Putin has already violated it by seizing Crimea. The US and UK signed that document to reassure Ukraine. What should our allies make of Obama’s ineffective response and the UK’s obvious cravenness?

Let’s look at things from Putin’s point of view. The United States currently has an inexperienced president, is war-weary and debt-ridden and often fails to see eye to eye with its allies in Europe and Asia. Its Congress is currently bitterly divided, but that may change in November — but that Congress will be unified under the Republicans, so the American government will remain divided. Its military has been slashed and faces more force reductions. Its economy is stagnant. Its heavy industry has been whittled away for decades as jobs in that sector have been shipped overseas. Europe has not taken military matters seriously for decades, preferring to live under America’s protection. The UK is far from the global power it once was, and neither is Germany. On the Asian wing, South Korea remains preoccupied by North Korea and while Japan possesses one of the best funded self-defense forces in the world, its military lacks reach. For Vladimir Putin, who has already gotten the best of Barack Obama and seen to it that Obama’s red lines fade quickly, there may be no better time than this one to undo the catastrophe of the Soviet Union’s fall, if that’s what he is inclined to do…”

ht – Ace

Link with 1989 Map of USSR

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/03/12/report-putin-claims-that-the-dissolution-of-the-ussr-was-illegal/

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:20 AM

ethnic-linguistic map of Ukraine

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:16 AM

So, you’re suggesting a return to the Soviet-Nazi lines?

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Another analysis worth considering:

“we may undo the work of the Cold War era and stand godfather to a new Sino-Russian alliance. This without doubt would be the stupidest move in the history of American foreign policy.” Spengler

http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2014/03/26/not-even-wrong-about-russia/?singlepage=true

I’ll go a step further. I believe we are seeing the beginning of a Slavic/orthodox revival in Eastern Europe and Russia. This will juxtaposed against the nascent Muslim revival taking place south of Russia.

While the G7 booted out Russia, that’s not going to happen in the G20:

“Though the G7 is excluding Russia from its number, in retaliation for its action in Crimea, this does not amount to isolating Russia. There has been no suggestion that Russia be excluded from the G20. The USA and its allies have suspected that several other G20 members would not stand for it. This suspicion was confirmed yesterday when the BRICS foreign ministers, assembled at the international conference in The Hague, issued a statement condemning ‘the escalation of hostile language, sanctions and counter-sanctions’. They affirmed that the custodianship of the G20 belongs to all member-states equally and no one member-state can unilaterally determine its nature and character.”

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-26/how-brics-just-kicked-out-g-7-out-g-20

Viator on March 27, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Like they know. Our intelligence has been terrible.

Nevertheless, it’s obviously likely. What is important is what happens next. The President has us ill-prepared for this conflict, and if we are ill-prepared it’s certainly no wonder the Europeans are in even worse shape. You can’t blame them for being poorly led.

MTF on March 27, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Territorial evolution of Ukraine 1979-1954 Map

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/07/Ukraine-growth.png

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:24 AM

So, you’re suggesting a return to the Soviet-Nazi lines?

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Putin suggested it.

I’m just providing links to maps and info.

The Chinese inked a wheat deal with the Ukrainians that has now become defunct since the throw over.

“China Takes Sides: Sues Ukraine For $3bn Loan Repayment

t is widely known that Russia is owed billions by Ukraine for already-delivered gas (as we noted earlier, leaving Gazprom among the most powerful players in this game). It is less widely know that Russia also hold $3b of UK law bonds which, as we explained in detail here, are callable upon certain covenants that any IMF (or US) loan bailout will trigger. Russia has ‘quasi’ promised not to call those loans. It is, until now, hardly known at all (it would seem) that China is also owed $3bn, it claims, for loans made for future grain delivery to China. It would seem clear from this action on which side of the ‘sanctions’ fence China is sitting.

In 2012, The State Food and Grain Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of China agreed to provide Ukrainian corporation loan of $ 3 billion, which was planned to be on the spot and forward purchases of grain for future delivery to China.

Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Igor Schweich confirmed that China has filed a lawsuit against Ukraine in a London court for the return of a loan of $3 billion….”

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-22/china-takes-sides-sues-ukraine-3bn-loan-repayment

Map of winter wheat growing regions in Ukraine

http://www.pecad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2009/05/ukr_20may2009/wheatarea_map.htm

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:33 AM

My simplistic take on 0′s speech at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.

Bmore on March 27, 2014 at 8:34 AM

HT Schadenfreude. ; )

Bmore on March 27, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Dated Jan. 2014

“China continued to reject corn cargoes from the U.S. that contained an unapproved genetically modified variety while accepting a first bulk-carrier shipment of the grain from Ukraine.

Genetically modified corn and corn-derived products totaling 601,000 metric tons were rejected in 2013, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. A Panamax-sized shipment of non-genetically modified corn from Ukraine entered the country on Dec. 6, according to a statement dated Dec. 25 on the website of state-owned China National Complete Engineering Corp.

The quarantine agency’s newest figure cited by Xinhua was 56,000 tons more than it announced on Dec. 19, showing the government’s continued screening of U.S. corn and and dried distillers’ grains, or DDGS, for the unapproved insect resistanr MIR 162 gene. Net corn sales to China from the U.S. in the seven days through Dec. 26 dropped by 116,000 tons from the previous week, according to a report on the website of U.S. Department of Agriculture….”

http://wtfrly.com/2014/01/08/china-rejecting-u-s-gmo-corn-as-first-shipment-from-ukraine-arrives/#.UzQbHNy4nHg

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:37 AM

Speaking in Brussels, Obama chided fellow NATO members for not contributing to the collective defense.

Says the guy who’s eliminating our effective Tomahawk missile program.

rbj on March 27, 2014 at 8:37 AM

Another analysis worth considering:

“we may undo the work of the Cold War era and stand godfather to a new Sino-Russian alliance. This without doubt would be the stupidest move in the history of American foreign policy.” Spengler

http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2014/03/26/not-even-wrong-about-russia/?singlepage=true

I’ll go a step further. I believe we are seeing the beginning of a Slavic/orthodox revival in Eastern Europe and Russia. This will juxtaposed against the nascent Muslim revival taking place south of Russia.

While the G7 booted out Russia, that’s not going to happen in the G20:

“Though the G7 is excluding Russia from its number, in retaliation for its action in Crimea, this does not amount to isolating Russia. There has been no suggestion that Russia be excluded from the G20. The USA and its allies have suspected that several other G20 members would not stand for it. This suspicion was confirmed yesterday when the BRICS foreign ministers, assembled at the international conference in The Hague, issued a statement condemning ‘the escalation of hostile language, sanctions and counter-sanctions’. They affirmed that the custodianship of the G20 belongs to all member-states equally and no one member-state can unilaterally determine its nature and character.”

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-26/how-brics-just-kicked-out-g-7-out-g-20

Viator on March 27, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Tribalism (Nationalism) trumps Globalism…

Yep!

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Map of winter wheat growing regions in Ukraine

http://www.pecad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2009/05/ukr_20may2009/wheatarea_map.htm

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Excellent information. I hadn’t seen that before. My impression was that the bulk of the wheat was grown in western Ukraine but that is obviously not the case. Another reason Putin wants to get his hands on the eastern half.

Viator on March 27, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Speaking in Brussels, Obama chided fellow NATO members for not contributing to the collective defense.

Says the guy who’s eliminating our effective Tomahawk missile program.

rbj on March 27, 2014 at 8:37 AM

He’s so in over his head it would be funny…but it’s serious.

Graph on the Nukes

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/01/10/US-Nukes-Now-It-s-Our-Turn-Catch-Russians

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Putin suggested it.

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Technically wasn’t it one of Putin’s allies that suggested it?

I am under no illusions that the Soviet-Nazi lines would be any more acceptable to Putin than merely occupying Crimea. But if you’re going to take over a soveriegn nation, incrementalism is easier than doing it all at once.

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Map of winter wheat growing regions in Ukraine

http://www.pecad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2009/05/ukr_20may2009/wheatarea_map.htm

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Excellent information. I hadn’t seen that before. My impression was that the bulk of the wheat was grown in western Ukraine but that is obviously not the case. Another reason Putin wants to get his hands on the eastern half.

Viator on March 27, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Yeah.

Putin’s Southstream Pipeline bypasses Ukraine terrain altogether…delivers to some interesting places in the EU.

The EU abandoned the Turkish Pipeline about two years ago.

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:46 AM

Speaking in Brussels, Obama chided fellow NATO members for not contributing to the collective defense.

For Obama, Kiev is a chicken dish and Brussels is the place where those little cabbages come from. Now, with the Yeti and brats who got their fix for Chinese food, he’s in Rome for some Lasagne. These aren’t state trips to Europe and China. They are vacations for foodies.

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 8:47 AM

US intel: Putin move on eastern Ukraine likely

translation: Watch out, Estonia!

corona79 on March 27, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Let me be clear, this is not about me. This isn’t some abstract debate. Russia is acting from a position of weakness. They’re simply a regional power.

You can’t criticize me because Romney.

rightside on March 27, 2014 at 8:50 AM

The Ukraine (Particularly South and Southeastern regions) are basically the Bread Basket of Europe.

China has increased their own domestic wheat production but they’ve been inking land/lease deals allover the world….for mineral/resource development and food production.

Lot of people to feed in China even with their controlled population policies…They have a big army.

China and Russia are upgrading their navies.

China is expanding claims in the Asian seas over Oil/Gas fields and Fishing.

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Meanwhile Obama’s focus seems to be promoting Gay Marriage,Open Borders Immigration & Fighting Global Warming throughout the world…

His presser in Brussels was incoherent drivel.

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Some other maps:

http://cdn.static-economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/original-size/20140301_FBM909_1.png

http://www.personal.psu.edu/adg5036/blogs/adam_glusczyk/2009/03/26/350px-Russians_Ukraine_2001.png

http://observationalism.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ukraine_elections_1991-2012_maps.png

Viator on March 27, 2014 at 8:52 AM

Good maps.

Follow the resources.

Wars are always fought over resources…Who’s got them and Who needs them.

China and Russia seem to be in expansionist mode…and they’ve aligned with Iran.

Meanwhile our own Secretary of State declared the Monroe Doctrine is over.

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Leading from Behind…

“A Questionable Choice for NATO’s Civilian Head
Former Norwegian Premier Jens Stoltenberg has peculiar views on nuclear deterrence and America’s role in the world.

Norway is a land of political contradictions. A founding member of NATO, the country has for decades been a trans-Atlantic stalwart and close U.S. partner. But Norway has also traditionally been dominated by a left-wing establishment that resents Washington’s primacy on the world stage and entertains dangerous illusions about nuclear weapons and Western deterrence.

Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg —the man most likely to serve as NATO’s next secretary-general—embodies these contradictions.

Mr. Stoltenberg’s candidacy to head the Western alliance, Reuters reported on Monday, “has the backing of the United States, NATO’s dominant power, and Germany.” British Prime Minister David Cameron endorsed Mr. Stoltenberg’s candidacy on Wednesday. “I’ve worked very closely with him,” Mr. Cameron said, “and I think it would be very good to have such a candidate who has filled such a high office in his own country.”

On the face of it, the 55-year-old career politician appears an unobjectionable choice. During his premiership—he served from 2000-01 and again from 2005-13—Norway contributed troops to NATO’s Afghanistan campaign and aircraft to its Libya campaign. Yet Mr. Stoltenberg’s worldview raises questions about his suitability to lead NATO as the alliance enters a turbulent new era.

His early radicalism is an initial red flag: While serving as a minister of industry and energy, he joined a 1995 bicycle rally from Oslo to Paris to protest French nuclear-weapons testing. His defenders might object that many a responsible European politician—think Joschka Fischer —spent his youth in Europe’s far-left fever swamps.

Fair enough. But with Mr. Stoltenberg, it appears that his radical notions have been merely diluted with age—but not altogether discarded.

In 2006, during Mr. Stoltenberg’s second premiership, Norway’s State Pension Global Fund divested from three U.S. companies— Boeing, BA -0.40% Northrop Grumman NOC -0.38% and Honeywell HON -1.73% —because they help produce nuclear weapons. “One-hundred percent of [companies] found guilty of serious or systematic human rights violations . . . are American,” the U.S. ambassador to Norway complained at the time. “Is it reasonable to believe that among the pension fund’s 4,000-plus companies from all over the world, the process has revealed that only American companies are unethical?”

Then there is Russia, which has once again emerged as NATO’s chief adversary in Europe. In his first term as premier in 2001, Mr. Stoltenberg declared that “under no terms will Norway allow any foreign military activities on its territories,” according to an account of his remarks published by the Nordic press, adding that “his country had never allowed military bases or nuclear weapons on its territories as it can be regarded as a threat to neighboring countries.” He didn’t specify which neighboring states he had in mind, but perhaps that was unnecessary, since he was speaking to an audience at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy.

His assessment of the Russian threat has remained sanguine. “NATO and Russia are facing many of the same security challenges,” he told the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon. “These challenges can best be addressed through cooperation, for example in the NATO-Russian Council.” He applauded Moscow’s desire “to further develop the cooperation with NATO.”

A Norwegian Labor Party spokesperson referred me to Mr. Stoltenberg’s parliamentary office, which didn’t respond to a request for comment. “It’s well known that Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s term as NATO Secretary General is coming to a close,” a U.S. National Security spokesperson told me via email, declining to comment further on Mr. Rasmussen’s replacement.

Before entrusting their alliance to his care, NATO members should inquire into Mr. Stoltenberg’s current views on America’s partnership with Europe, on the Russian threat and on nuclear weapons, which form a pillar of NATO deterrence. As it is, his public record suggests a mind ill-suited to the job….”

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304679404579461691460825368

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Yulia is running:

Ukraine
36m
Photo: Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko during her announcement that she will run for president – @MaximEristavi
see original on twitter.com
=============================

Ukraine
39m
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says she plans to run for president – @Reuters, @kgorchinskaya
end of alert

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/2014-ukrainian-revolution/

canopfor on March 27, 2014 at 9:06 AM

Meanwhile our own Secretary of State declared the Monroe Doctrine is over.

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Speaking of which, WHERE THE HELL IS JOHN KERRY? Has anybody seen him recently?

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 9:07 AM

American intelligence has finally come to the conclusion that massing troops and armor on a border actually is a pretty good sign that both will be used, and soon:

Other than satellite recon, from all I can tell, a Magic 8-Ball would be more reliable than our intel assets. Sorry to state, but the last thirty-five years have made it very clear that the Company has never recovered from the Church hearings and Stansfield Turner. (Due to one of my profs being ex-field ops out of the Baltimore “No, we’re not the CIA” office, I had more-or-less a ringside seat for that mess.)

And NSA is too busy spying on Americans to bother with anyone else.

Then again, all the intel in the world is useless if the NCA either refuses to believe it, insists on interpreting it according to their own dogmas, or simply ignores it on the grounds that nothing but their dreams of socialist Utopia at home matter. This NCA seem to indulge in all three of the above conceits.

Conservatives here in the US have heaped plenty of blame on Barack Obama for his lack of leadership and foreign-policy naïveté, much of it deserved. However, it’s difficult to lead a group that seems so determined not to wake up at all. Obama gave a good speech this week in Europe attempted to sound the alarm and to get NATO nations to take its defense posture seriously, but clearly little else than Russian tanks driving into Poland or maybe the Baltics will rouse Europe from its stupor.

Not so much a stupor as a reversion to the “strategy” of the 1960s. Back then, the NATO countries generally built very little in the way of actual warfighting capability. The reason was the U.S. nuclear “umbrella”. They believed that all they needed was just enough conventional power to slow the Third Guards Tank Army down, so the U.S. could make the WARPAC forces withdraw by threatening to nuke Moscow.

The policy was called “tripwire and massive retaliation”. I’m not sure anyone then seriously believed that it would work, or that either side would end the world to save Europe from being… even more Communist than it became on its own. (Modern-day “Euro-socialism” is more Marx than Fabian Society, and Tito would have defined it as the sort of thing he spent his life trying to avoid in the former Yugoslavia- along with the Yugo.)

The only serious armies in NATO were the British and the West Germans, and it’s not a coincidence that other than the U.S. Army, the last non-German heavy force to leave the Fulda Gap was BAOR. Its replacement, BFG, is purely a tripwire formation.

Of course, “tripwire and massive retaliation” pre-supposes that the U.S. has the capability to retaliate massively. It also assumes that the U.S. NCA is willing to do it.

I seriously doubt either one is true today. Not least because our present NCA would mainly see Russian domination of Western Europe through the lens of hoping it would lead to a rebirth of “true revolutionary socialism”… in Russia.

This is where the Chamberlain/The One analogy breaks down. Chamberlain never believed that Hitler was a “good Comrade”; he thought he’d be a buffer against Stalin, and “Germany is destined to rule Europe”, anyway.

The One thinks the destined rulers of the world are all sitting on rugs going Ommmmm somewhere east of Suez. He really doesn’t care what Russia does, considering it a sideshow to the Great Work of creating a mystical Utopia. His take is, “In the end, all will bow to the mystical power of the enlightened East- so who cares who runs anything northwest of the Dardanelles now?”

Chamberlain was a focused monomaniac determined to make Britain a “thought leader” in creating egalitarian socialism. (Even though he was nominally a Tory. In the UK, political labels rarely mean much in real-world terms.)

The One is a delusional would-be Messiah whose worldview is equal parts Carlos Castaneda, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and Leon Trotsky. Expecting hm to have a realistic assessment of anything is expecting far too much.

Only time will tell which of the two will prove to have been more of a total disaster for the civilized world. Although it must be said that Chamberlain at least did not have The One’s visceral hatred of that world.

clear ether

eon

eon on March 27, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says she plans to run for president – @Reuters, @kgorchinskaya
end of alert

canopfor on March 27, 2014 at 9:06 AM

I’m pretty sure that Putin intends to put his own team in charge once the acquisition is complete.

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Hmmmmm….trend spotting….

“The Netherlands Tells Immigrants to Learn Dutch or Get Out”

http://content.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,901495844001_2064551,00.html?iid=tabvidrecirc

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Whatever gave them THAT idea? Oh, all those tanks that have massed on the border…

ConstantineXI on March 27, 2014 at 8:06 AM

I think ‘US Intel’ is a guy with some binoculars calling from a phone booth in Kharkiv.

verbaluce on March 27, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Meanwhile our own Secretary of State declared the Monroe Doctrine is over.

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Speaking of which, WHERE THE HELL IS JOHN KERRY? Has anybody seen him recently?

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 9:07 AM

He’s pivoted to the ME…and trying to bully Israel into a suicidal agreement…

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/secretary-state-john-kerry-meet-palestinian-leaders-jordan-article-1.1735427

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 9:14 AM

2014 Ukrainian revolution
1h
Russian President Vladimir Putin warns the West against curtailing use of Western payment systems in Russia, says that would mean losing money and market segment – @Reuters
end of alert

canopfor on March 27, 2014 at 9:14 AM

canopfor on March 27, 2014 at 9:06 AM

I’m pretty sure that Putin intends to put his own team in charge once the acquisition is complete.

Happy Nomad on March 27, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Happy Nomad:Lol,..if shes elected, over her dead body,..oh wait!:)

canopfor on March 27, 2014 at 9:16 AM

Europeans don’t want to give up their entitlement budgets…even for self defense.

Despite ‘wake-up call’ in Ukraine, Europe reluctant to bolster its militaries

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/despite-wake-up-call-in-ukraine-europe-reluctant-to-bolster-its-militaries/2014/03/27/91e041d4-b4f6-11e3-b899-20667de76985_story.html

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Luckily Russia is a regional power. Nothing to see here… move along.

On Another note,

A new classified intelligence assessment

It sucks when we out our own classified intel.

rightConcept on March 27, 2014 at 9:23 AM

clear ether

eon

eon on March 27, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Good post.

NotCoach on March 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Our intelligence has been terrible. MTF on March 27, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Because the govt considers its own citizens to be the greatest threat it faces, resources have been diverted to gathering intel on them instead of foreign adversaries.

The US obviously has great capabilities, they’re just focused on white Christian pro-life gun-owning small-government advocates, especially if they are combat veterans.

I can’t advocate that this govt do anything while 0dingleberry runs it.

Akzed on March 27, 2014 at 9:32 AM

The spineless Europeans aren’t raising much of a ruckus either.

SC.Charlie on March 27, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Since the 1980′s are back in touch with us, could they send us their President?

Don’t tease me bro’!

Wisdom_of_Homer on March 27, 2014 at 9:51 AM

I think ‘US Intel’ is a guy with some binoculars calling from a phone booth in Kharkiv.

I have my doubts that he’s even looking in the right direction.

Wisdom_of_Homer on March 27, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Meh, he’s just a regional power. What about the NYC nukes!!1!11!

vcferlita on March 27, 2014 at 9:56 AM

We’re doomed. Can you imagine the damage O’ can do over the next three years? Can you imagine the Damage Pootin WILL do over the next three years? O’s Storm Troopers will be busting down Patriots’ doors while Pootin’s will be busting down borders. I suspect the two plan to meet somewhere in the middle…

vnvet on March 27, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Bet the Ukraine is wishing it had all those nukes it gave up…in exchange for protection by Europe and the US….

albill on March 27, 2014 at 10:40 AM

I think gradually, and then very suddenly the US will find itself completely isolated. Once Germany decides to work with Russia, it is all over.

antisense on March 27, 2014 at 11:08 AM

The Europeans will get serious when Russian tanks and troops are rolling through the Fulda Pass, but it will be too late by then. Does this not remind anyone of 1939, with Germany invading Poland, and only the Brits standing up to them?

kjatexas on March 27, 2014 at 11:29 AM

We have not run REFORGER excercises since the 1990′s. If we let the Russians move their forces through Ukraine and Moldova and use that as their starting point, who would win a race to Rhine? What do we have in the way of armor in Europe right now? A coupleo of brigades?

KW64 on March 27, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Meanwhile our own Secretary of State declared the Monroe Doctrine is over.

workingclass artist on March 27, 2014 at 8:59 AM

An invite for Russia to use its allies in Cuba, Venezuela, bolivia and Ecuador to conquer Latin American to protect whatever ethnic Russians they can smuggle in?

KW64 on March 27, 2014 at 11:48 AM

obama is a God sent…to Putin.

Schadenfreude on March 27, 2014 at 11:58 AM

US intel: Putin move on eastern Ukraine likely

Bwahahahahahahaha

And Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction

roflmmfao

donabernathy on March 27, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Bet the Ukraine is wishing it had all those nukes it gave up…in exchange for protection by Europe and the US….

albill on March 27, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Obama is giving them 5 MRE’s for each nuclear weapon they gave up.

agmartin on March 27, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Says the guy who’s eliminating our effective Tomahawk missile program.

rbj on March 27, 2014 at 8:37 AM

and, in this case more importantly IMO, our A10 program.

dmacleo on March 27, 2014 at 1:32 PM

We have not run REFORGER excercises since the 1990′s. If we let the Russians move their forces through Ukraine and Moldova and use that as their starting point, who would win a race to Rhine? What do we have in the way of armor in Europe right now? A coupleo of brigades?

KW64 on March 27, 2014 at 11:39 AM

was there for 87,88,89 although I covered rear law enforcement for some.
iirc the number there is EXTREMELY low now, I looked it up last week but forget now.

do remember fulda being a tripwire setup as eon mentioned, but much of V corps and 3AD was set to coalesce away from the front and could mount a serious offense if needed. we had a lot of equipment over there really.

dmacleo on March 27, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Great job Hillary!

Whitey Ford on March 27, 2014 at 2:29 PM

A new Gateway Pundit post asks if the North Pole will be next. What if he decides to annex Alaska after that? After all, it did used to belong to Russia. You think our regime would draw a line in the snow for that?

Kissmygrits on March 27, 2014 at 2:34 PM

And NSA is too busy spying on Americans to bother with anyone else.

You don’t know what you are talking about.

rlwo2008 on March 27, 2014 at 4:06 PM